samedi, avril 28, 2007

You can't always get...

Taken from a review by Claire Messud of a new biography of Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee (NYT):

"As Lee sums it up, "She is interested in the negotiation between the desires of individuals and the pressures of convention, and she is fascinated by equivocation."
Lee exposes the ways in which Wharton's fictions drew obliquely but powerfully upon her own life and, with unprecedented success, sets their political and feminist significance firmly in context. Given Wharton's own fleeting and doomed romance with Fullerton, there is particular poignancy in Lee's observation that in "The Age of Innocence," Wharton in the end "chose unfulfillment for her lovers. That is what life is like, she tells us. Perhaps we are even meant to feel that there is some value for the soul in not getting what you want."

For those of you who choose to live in that grey half-light of unfulfilled desire, for those of you not daring enough to step outside the bounds of the lines you have drawn...for those of you who continually chose equivocation over risk...finally you have found someone who makes your case for you!

If you are honest about your equivocation, perhaps you find something useful in it...after all, there aren't a lot of saints. Lots of folks decide to stay in a dead-end job or marriage-or nurse the fantasy that what they don't have would be better than what they do. (What I find distressing is the number of people who lie to themselves, and to their colleagues and spouses, indulging in virtual adultery or spiritually checking out on their jobs or kids )

For you honest equivocators-I wonder...

What value do you find in not getting what it is you want?


In case you really wondered...the envelope contained a year book. I'd forgotten that I had written a few words and sent in a picture of our little family.

My first observation? How good most of us looked. I can't decide how much of it is genes and how much of it is good health care. Maybe a couple of us Kirkland women used Botox-if so, good for us.

Some included old photographs-moving icons of beauty and lines, no skepticism.

My more profound observation? How many of us (the ones who sent in bios and pics) were teachers and interior decorators and social workers, and how relatively few were corporate--no surprises.

And proud I am of being part of this group of grown up women-still moving forward to help make this world a little better. They don't sell SUVS, by and large, the women of
Kirkland. We aren't ingenuous anymore...but we are still hopeful and smart and impudent. In a good way, of course.

vendredi, avril 27, 2007

Ms Management

I woke up this morning with all sorts of resolutions regarding what used to quaintly be called "household management." Sheets that have sat waiting to be folded (does anyone really like this job?) would finally get put in the closet. I have no idea what sorts of trouble the laundry has created while downstairs-I should have sent some spies to the basement to make sure it has practiced abstinence and not created more dirty clothes. The parts of the Inquirer that have calmly and politely piled up in the kitchen, awaiting a reader would not only be read, but recycled.

Then there is my normal work, of course. Polyamorists and the Allentown Museum, and a column on violence and redemption awaited me-I have had to admit that my daughter gets her ad hominem personality from me. Creativity and chaos often battle with order and discipline in this house-and you really don't want to be on the losing side when chaos wins out.

Somehow I got hijacked on the way to the reading and recycling by a fat booklike package from my alma mater, Kirkland College. The school, a product of the idealistic 70's doesn't exist anymore-but there is still a strong sense of shared identity among those of us who attended it.

Having thrown a bunch of newspapers into the recycling pile ( I rationalized that tomorrow I'll have more recent morsels to pile up and forget) I tore open the envelope. When I did, I was sorry that I hadn't done it sooner....


jeudi, avril 26, 2007

Know any polyamorists in your area?

"The only reason people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory"

I found this quote in an article from the UK on polyamory. I've been given the ok to do a local story on polyamorists in the Chester County/Berks County area-if you know of anyone who is willing to talk to me on the record, or a friend who knows a friend, please post a comment. This movement isn't huge, yet, but it's growing-and worth a fair, balanced story. If by chance you are a polyamorist, I'd like to hear from you. Apparently there is a Unitarian Universalist association of poly people.

PS- If you don't know what polyamory is, get out a dictionary, or work it out from your high school Latin.

Tough Message

I'm starting to get really upset by the person who is reading my 'blog so obsessively. I have reported this to Google and I'm following up to see if there are measures I can take to discourage this. I will provide them with his server identification. I may have to change my blog name, which would be a pain for me and for my readers. It would be wise to look at your own motives, and ask yourself why you are doing this. Please change your behavior. To my readers who know me-if I stop posting here, and you want to know where to find me, please contact me directly at my home email.

mercredi, avril 25, 2007

No chick (peas) here

Can anyone pinpoint the year when parenting stopped being an exercise in teaching and authority and became a "learning experience"-for the parents? Whenever that change happened, we have now probably gone beyond the point of no return-unless you are raising a child according to the rubrics of Dr. James Dobson.

I've never been good at rubrics, be they those of Dobson, Spock or Barney the dinosaur. But I do take a stand on certain peculiar principles-kindness to others, grace at meals- and eating at least a little of what is put in front of you.

With her craving for novelty, Sian doesn't normally have a problem eating new foods. Colin, on the other hand, displays an air suitable for Greek tragedy or Yiddish theater.

Tonight the battle (which raged for about 45 minutes) was over pizza. We had laughter, tears, accusations and ultimately surrender (mine).

But don't kids go crazy over pizza, you ask?

Yes indeed-particularly if the pizza has broccoli, chick peas, and a whole wheat crust.

After a titanic battle, I sent Colin to bed. Lying beside him, my arm slung across his shoulder, we discussed strategies for healthy eating...and some for healthy compromise.

Gentle readers, I told you I had a learning experience-I did! Next time I'll leave out the chick peas.

lundi, avril 23, 2007

Colin on deck

It's incredible how deliciously a child's baseball game, played in the kind warmth of an April sunset, can redeem even the busiest of days.

I love watching my tall nine year old, gloved hand, feet apart, team hat slung low over his eyes, waiting to make that crucial catch.

As a kid growing up in New York, I didn't really understand the wizardry of amateur baseball. After all, Park Slope, Brooklyn, was hardly "Field of Dreams." Sure, we were baseball fans. But we were baseball fans in a big city who shared our ups and downs with tens of thousands, maybe millions of other neighbors and strangers.

After all, if you had taken the train to Shea or Yankee Stadium you wanted to see great baseball-or even really horrible baseball. It was exciting, wonderful, catastrophic-anything but calming. Watching professionals play is not soothing-it's not only the family pride that is at stake, but the pride of New York-ya think we New Yorkers don't know how other people feel about our baseball teams?

Well, it could be worse-we could have teams that haven't won a series in 60 years.

It is so much sweeter to observe third and fourth grade boys steal bases, or fumble catches, or hit balls behind them-so that they soar over the dugout. There are few things more lovely, on a spring evening, than watching the boys of summer.